I've been avoiding asking this question on SOS for some time in order not to sound like a complete twat, but I can't get passed the issue on my own. I'm about to mix an adult contemporary song (vocals, bass, drums, assorted percussion, guitar, piano, Rhodes and 3 horns). I done a few mixes in my days so I'm not a newbie. Anyway, I was doing some reading on my lappy and listening to a recently released adult contemporary cd to get a reference sound. At some point I had to chat with someone and took one earplug out. When I got focused again, I realized I could basically still hear all the instruments just by listening from one earplug. Granted it sounded better with both earplugs of course. This is causing me a lot of concern. Is it so that the "modern" mixing method (even for non-pop) is to pan everything to the middle and use eq and delay/reverb to make the instruments have space? Is this what I should be aiming at in my mixes? Before I noticed this, I would have mixed the guitar to one side and the piano to another, vocals, bass drum, bass, snare, keys bang in the middle, percussion spread all over (depending on the effect) and the horns probably doubled left and right with some delay to get a bigger sound and some reverb to move them back a bit in the mix. Now it seems to me to get a modern mix that I should try to put everything as near middle as possible. Am I going nuts ?? If it's the case, what's the sort of limit on panning that I should allow?
Hope someone can clarify for me!!
Thanks in advance..